Marina – the founder, designer and activist behind Marina De Buchi – established her label on the premise that her ethereal creations would positively impact both the wearer and the world. And that’s precisely what her brand has done.
Marina De Buchi Fights Modern Slavery
When studying fashion at university, Marina attended a powerful talk delivered by non-profit organization, A21. After learning about their incredible work to abolish modern slavery (also known as human trafficking), Marina left the lecture with fire in her heart which would be the driving force behind the Marina De Buchi brand we all know and love today.
Since day one, our independent brand has donated 10% of every timeless necklace and luxè bracelet purchase to A21; and, together with our gorgeous Marina De Buchi goddesses, we fight human trafficking.
What is Human Trafficking?
Did you know there are more slaves in the world today than ever before?
Millions of people from across the globe are victims of human trafficking, having been lured in by false job advertisements or ‘loverboys’ or sold as sex slaves, domestic servants and child soldiers.
What does A21 Do?
Operating in 13 countries globally (including the US, Norway and Cambodia), A21 adopts a strategy of reach, rescue and restore to help fight human trafficking. Reaching and educating those vulnerable, to prevent initial trafficking; rescuing those already exploited with hotlines and child advocacy centres; and restoring victims with aftercare through accommodation, financial support and therapy, to reduce risk of re-trafficking.
As COVID-19 impacts the global economy, unemployment rises and desperation increases, and, as a result, so do human trafficking cases.
Where Do Your Donations Go?
Every quarter, Marina reassesses where her donations go, and those from the first quarter of 2020 went straight the brilliant Cambodia office.
Why Cambodia? Cambodia is one of the world’s poorest countries, and its people have endured an incredibly painful and tragic history which remains largely unknown to the Western world. The country’s high poverty levels mean greater numbers of people are vulnerable to human trafficking. Yet the aid the country receives is low.
Alongside this, when travelling the country, Marina fell in love with the locals and their hospitable culture. “I was staying in a hostel when I met locals in need of volunteers at their food centre,” Marina recalled, beaming as she thought back to December 2016. “When at the centre, I spent my time helping, feeding and occupying the children. Despite the country’s history of hardships, the Khmer people are some of the kindest, most generous and compassionate I’ve ever met. When I left Cambodia, I left a piece of my heart with these beautiful people.”
A21: Cambodia Branch
When searching for the next recipients of her donation, Marina travelled back to Cambodia to meet with A21 Cambodia’s Country Manager, Kristen, “whose passion, dedication and extensive knowledge is really encouraging,” Marina said. “Kristen really reassured me when detailing where donations go, and the effect they have on vulnerable groups.”
We caught up with Kristen to find out about the work her branch does as well as how the pandemic has affected victims and A21 workers.
Our Catch Up with A21 Cambodia’s Manager, Kristen
Cambodia’s home to various forms of human trafficking, but forced labor, sex trafficking, involuntary domestic servitude, forced begging and forced marriage are most prevalent.
As is the case globally, the most vulnerable community groups are usually those without access to jobs, medical, education, and/or accommodation, which leads to instability, increased vulnerability and potential exploitation. And, given the high rates of poverty, it’s no surprise that human trafficking in Cambodia is prevalent.
Kristen, how COVID-19 has Affected Vulnerable Groups in Cambodia?
“A large percentage of the Cambodian population rely on a daily income, so if they can’t work that day, they can’t eat either,” Kristen explained. “The closure of borders has reduced the population’s ability to travel for work, and we’ve seen an increased closure of businesses and local markets, meaning that vulnerable communities have become even more so during the pandemic.”
Kristen also explained that more children have fallen victim to online exploitation as a result of lockdown. “Quarantined online child sex offenders are spending more time online, increasing the vulnerability of children in Cambodia who have access to technology.”
What has A21 Done to Combat this Increased Risk?
A21 have increased support, awareness and education.
“We’ve provided some survivors under our care with laptops, to ensure they can meet their counsellors regularly online.”
As for the increased vulnerability of children: “A21 has increased awareness and education during to address online safety for children, and parents.”
Where will the Most Recent Marina De Buchi Donation be Going?
“The majority of the survivors under our care are minors,” Kristen told Marina De Buchi, when explaining how donations help with support child victims of exploitation and human trafficking long-term; assisting survivors’ recovery from past trauma and helping them safely live a life of independence.
“Some of our aftercare services include trauma therapy, counselling, medical and dental support, accommodation, foster care and education sponsorship. We also provide sponsorship for small business initiatives, vocational training, and positive parenting courses.
“Also, this year, A21 launched a prevention program which covers human trafficking, child exploitation, child rights and safe/unsafe migration with an interactive, child-friendly approach.
“We run this program in schools and communities across Cambodia. We have also made this program available to anyone to download and share here.”
What’s One of A21 Cambodia's Most Significant Achievements?
“We launched our Child Advocacy Centre last December,” Kristen explained. “The purpose of the centre is to provide a safe place for children who are victims of exploitation and human trafficking to speak to a trained forensic interviewer in a child-friendly environment.
“Children in the current justice system are often interviewed over and over again, sometimes in public areas and/or with their offender present. A21 is working to change the system of which these cases are managed in Cambodia.
“The Child Advocacy Centre operations are a collaborative effort between A21, law enforcement and the Cambodian Government to ensure child survivors are protected, and offenders are successfully prosecuted.
But their work is far from over. there’s a lot of work to be done, which requires huge sums of money.
Thank You for Standing with Us
As you can see, A21 work tirelessly to fight human trafficking, and we wouldn’t be able to help them without your loyal support.
Continue Your Support
Our independent design house continues to donate 10% of every purchase to the charity, so grab yourself and your bestie a pretty personalized piece or your favourite dainty design to continue to abolish slavery with us. https://www.marinadebuchi.com/collections/the-personalized-collection
And, for a limited time only, get 10% off using the code: YOUARELOVED.
Things You Can do to Help Abolish Slavery
- Educate yourself on this global issue, find out more about what is happening in your country, and what local initiatives are taken place to combat this injustice.
- Join campaigns to raise awareness of human trafficking such as Walk for Freedom!
- Educate your children and people in your community about the risks of human trafficking and online safety.
- Support organizations working to combat this injustice - you can do this by volunteering or financial giving.
- Learn more about how people around the world have become abolitionist in their own communities here.